Washington lawmaker pushes back against possibility of toll road - KPTV - FOX 12

Washington lawmaker pushes back against possibility of toll roads in Oregon

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Plans are now being made to implement Oregon’s massive transportation package, and the highway tolls called for in the new plan have one Washington lawmaker concerned.

Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler is voicing her concern about those tolls, which she believes could unfairly target Washington commuters heading south on Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 to work in the Portland metro area.

In a letter to Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, Herrera Beutler wrote that while she does not oppose the concept of toll roads, Oregon doesn’t have the right to “make southwest Washington an unwilling piggy bank for Oregon’s infrastructure projects."

Herrera Beutler, a Republican, also pledged to “defend Southwest Washington residents from any unfair tolling plan” from her position in Congress, noting that the two roads are federal interests.

Both the governor’s office and ODOT sent responses to FOX 12 regarding the letter from Herrera Beutler Thursday.

Press Secretary Bryan Hockaday noted that the no letter was received by the governor’s office prior to media reports being released but said Gov. Brown is looking forward to signing the bill, which she believes will “create thousands of new jobs for Oregonians.”

"Governor Brown looks forward to signing Oregon's transportation package into law, which will create thousands of new jobs for Oregonians, help cut congestion, and spur economic growth in both Washington and Oregon. Oregonians can be proud of the bipartisan effort to pass one of the largest investments in Oregon's transportation system and the region's economy."

In a statement, ODOT Assistant Director Travis Brouwer noted that the agency appreciated Herrera Beutler’ input, adding that no decision had been made regarding the types of tolls to be implemented and that the public’s input would be sought out in the process.

"ODOT appreciates Rep. Herrera Beutler's input. No decisions as to what type of tolls to implement or where to implement them have been made.”

“To determine how we will implement this legislative direction, we plan to engage in a public conversation about value pricing that will allow the voices of all those who may be impacted- including people from throughout the bi-state Portland metro region- to be heard."

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